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Easy Sew- DIY Cowrie Shell Bracelet

19 Jul

8

These cowrie shell inspired felt bracelets add a touch of the tropics to your child’s summer crafting. Easy to make these can be made start to finish by a beginning sewer with minimal effort. To make sure these beauties were totally doable for the tween crafter I enlisted the help of my 10 year old niece Ruby.

end

And they turned out fabulously!

You will need: 

9″ x 1.5″ Bracelet felt color – Ruby used Chocolate, Lavender, and Embossed  felt.

6″ x 6″ Off white felt/ shell color,  she used Linen.

3/4″ Button per bracelet – she used  wood grain buttons

Brown thread

Scissors

Sewing needle

Felt glue

Clothes Pins

Packing tape- Optional

1Loosely cut around the bracelet template and try on to get it close to the right size. It will need to overlap so the button works.

Trim the template and tape or pin it down to the felt and cut out.

Cut out 4 shell shapes per bracelet cut the edges of these shapes with pinking shears, scallop scissors or just cut small triangles out along the edges with regular scissors.

2Mark where the button should go and sew down with criss crossing stitches.

3Mark the correct spot for the button-hole and carefully fold over the felt and cut. Cut less than you need to, you can always make it bigger.

When you’re done your bracelet should button up!

4Lay down the shell shapes and sew along the middles with a simple running stitch.

5To make the shells curl place small dots of felt glue fold over and clip clothes pins to hold them until dry…about 15 minutes. Then remove the clips and rock those babies!

6

Kids cowrie shell bracelet template:

cowrietemplate

 

square

Happy Crafting!

Ruby & Andie

How to store felt crafts

30 Dec

How to properly store all your felt stuff. AKA Like a Boss

Storing things made from felt

So you’ve made all these wonderful felt things but you just don’t know how to store felt crafts, ornaments, or heirloom pieces in the best, safest way possible you say?

Have no fear, AFC is here.

All in all felt is a great material to work with because a good quality wool or wool blend is pretty durable as fabrics go. But there is a right and a wrong way to store felt long-term. This is the best way to store wool and wool blend felt but the principles will work for any fabric materials.

First it helps to know felt has three main enemies:

Don't pack felt in cardboard alone.

Light

Light can fade felt’s colors and deteriorate it over time. It’s best to store your felt pieces in plastic airtight containers. Clear containers work well too and will allow you to better see the contents. However if you plan to store your pieces anyplace that may be exposed to sunlight regularly store in a solid color plastic container or place the items into other light barriers such as a shoe box or acid free tissue paper before packing.

light tight storage containerMoisture

Luckily wool  has antimicrobial properties which resist mold and mildew naturally so you needn’t worry too much about those as a threat however moisture can weaken felt over time not to mention create a mess. To avoid problems make sure each piece is completely dry before packing it up. Avoid storing in cardboard alone, near garage doors or low to the ground.  Throw in a few of those silica packets that come with shoes if you happen to have any handy. If not please feel free to see this as an excuse to go buy those new boots! I’m extremely pro shoes.

Pests

It’s true moths love wool and other natural fibers. They also love peace and quiet like your basement. Keeping your felt pieces safe from months is actually pretty easy. Avoid any nasty run ins by storing in an airtight plastic container and making sure your felt pieces are cleaned of any food or debris that might be left on them. Not only do crumbs attract pests, the oils can discolor your pieces over time. If you are bringing in vintage pieces consider placing them in a zip lock baggie and freezing them for a few days, this will kill any stowaways and keep the rest of your collection safe.

Here’s a quick run down for cleaning your felt pieces before storage.

Wondering how to clean felt - wonder no more - step by step photos

Oh no someone has smashed peanut butter and cheese crackers into my ornament (It was totally me but I did it for you)

How to clean felt

DON’T PANIC! Dust away and loose crumbs gently. You’ll want to avoid grinding anything into the fibers. Flick the piece from the back if possible to help knock out any loose crumbs in the fibers. I ground this cracker in a bit for emphasis.Keep in mind that even if the piece appears clean you want to make sure no food particles remain or you may have a nasty surprise next year with set in stains and possible pest damage.

Cleaning felt ornaments

Mix 1 part white vinegar or lemon juice to 2 parts water and gently dab at the remaining greasy spots. This will help break up the oils and get rid of any odor that might attract pests. Still have issues? That’s alright dear all the best people do.

Step by step guide to cleaning felt

Take your piece to the sink and run room temperature water through the side opposite your stain. The flowing water will help dislodge any crumbs or oils. Hot water may hurt your wool and cold water will make it hard for the oil to dislodge. Try not to saturate any more of your piece than you have to. Some dyes may run and wet felt is weaker which isn’t great for vintage pieces. Don’t soak the piece just let the water run through for a minute.

Washing wool felt - how to clean you pieces the right way.

 

How to clean vintage and future vintage felt things.

Pop that newly clean felt item in a clean towel and gently press out as much of the moisture as possible. DO NOT RUB!! Your felt is in a delicate place right now and rubbing it may cause it to pill.

How to Clean Felt Safely

Examine your piece for any remaining stain. If it looks good place in a sunny place until just dry the UV rays will also help kill any lingering smell. If your piece is still in need of love repeat the vinegar – water – blot process until it is ready for storage.

Double down on your pest prevention by doing a thorough cleaning of your storage area this will be sure to clear out any hidden enemies and make the space less attractive to traveling moths.

How to store felt Christmas Items

A word on mothballs

Mothballs are a neurotoxin and smell horrible!!!

Stick to cedar wood pieces or lavender for a natural repellent that won’t gag you come next Christmas AND your brain won’t be full of poisons! Win win!
Make sure you replace the repellent every year since the natural oils in these items are what repel pests and they dissipate over time.

Here’s how to make a quick lavender sachet keeping the moths at bay (totally nailed that rhyme!)

DIY Lavender drawer sachets

The fancy stuff:

Flat ornaments can easily be wrapped in acid free tissue paper this allows enough of a buffer so that beads and sequins remain undisturbed and the paper should keep everything nice and dry.

Pack felt away in acid free tissue paper

Dimensional felt ornaments can be kept in coffee filters or clean egg crates with some tissue paper to reduce any motion damage and keep sets together.

How to store felt ornaments

How to store felt

Try to store pieces flat avoid folding to save the need for a low iron later. If you must fold because you are storing a large felt piece such as a tree skirt be sure to place acid free tissue paper between the felt to give the piece space to breathe and avoid any chance of colors running if exposed to moisture.

The felt approved guide for storing felt stuff

And there you have it  – follow those simple steps and your felt pieces will be around for generations to come.

Happy Crafting

~Andie

American Felt and Craft - Online Craft Store

Embroidery Thread and Felt ~ What Every Crafter Should Know

28 Oct

Basics of felt and embroidery (Cross Stitch) thread

If you are new to the world of felt crafting you may have noticed that cross stitching or thread embroidery seems to be the go to choice for most felt crafters. And it’s no wonder  – Skeins of cross stitching thread are readily available in a million color choices are inexpensive and are easy to store and transport. How easy is it to store?  How about over 100 colors in the space of 3″ easy? More on that below.

Cross Stitching Thread Vs Spool Thread in crafting.

One of the best things about working with felt is its wide range of colors and ease of use in smaller projects and detail work. But all those small scraps of color can add up to a lot of thread. The cost of embroidery or cross stitching thread can be as much as 80% cheaper than traditional thread spools. (Translated:  16 skeins of cross stitching thread vs. 2 spools of standard thread.)  You may also find yourself working with shades of felt you don’t use often or sewing very small details and don’t see a need to invest in a larger spool to sew.

Sheep Shaped Bobbins for Cross stitching thread.

Traditional spools of thread are round and have a tendency to roll around which, while helpful on a sewing machine is quite annoying when hand crafting. Bobbins lie flat and just beg to be thrown into a project baggie for crafting on the go. Cross stitching thread is has very little sheen or shine to it making it blend easily into dense felt.  The cotton in embroidery thread isn’t as strong as the typical spool threads but this generally doesn’t present a problem.

Cross Stitching or embroidery thread is easy to find. Many big box stores now only carry a few shades of thread but will still carry dozens of shades of  embroidery thread. Since most felt work is hand sewn the aggravation of separating the threads in exchange for a wide selection of easy to locate, portable, space-saving, inexpensive colors seems a small price to pay.

Embroidery thread and felt sewing tips Different thicknesses of  embroidery or cross stitch thread used in running stitches and french knots on felt.

#25 cotton embroidery floss is the most commonly sold type, it comes in six strands of thread twisted into one thick strand. Most sewing projects are done with just 1 or 2 threads separated from the bunch after cutting it to the desired length. Occasionally you will want a thicker thread for a tighter hold, visible stitching or filling in details.

Cross stitching thread and felt

Click HERE for more on stitches and their uses.

For larger products or often used colors standard spool threads are still a better bet because all that untangling of thread can be really time-consuming.

 I have sew all sorts of things using only embroidery thread and felt:

DIY Seahorse hobby horse

Free DIY Felt Seahorse Hobby Horse Pattern

Play around with the thicknesses and stitch styles for added detail on any project.

Embroidery floss is also available in silk, linen, glittered, metallic and even glow in the dark!

gulf coast charity- felt food pattern

Fish, Clams, and Shrimp from the Gulf Coast Catch Pattern

How to store embroidery thread.

Now that I’ve helped you justify your purchase of 85 skeins of embroidery thread let me give you a word of warning, this whole project can go south if you don’t move that thread to bobbins ASAP. Your 8th grade jewelry box has nothing on the tangled rainbow hell that awaits those who don’t heed my warning.

Luckily, moving the thread to a bobbin is simple although a bit time-consuming…

sheep bobbins

Slip one cuff off at a time taking care not to distort or twist the thread too much.

Keep the thread in its circle and look for the shortest thread along the top. It should come apart smoothly.

Wrap it around your bobbin repeat this process 84 times while binge watching Netflix programming…

Sheep shaped bobbins

Rein in your threads Bo Peep style with these free printable felt sheep bobbins.

That’s all well and good but how do you store sheep shaped bobbins you ask.

How to store Thread Bobbins.

Store Embroidery thread in 3" binder and pocket pages. Easy to see and stores on a shelf.

I store my sheep in a 3″ binder inside deep pocketed pocket pages and I always know where to find them.

One of my favorite things about storing the thread bobbins this way is that they are easy to flip through and hold samples against for the best color matches possible.

When buying pocket pages look for deep pockets to help keep your sheep in line, since they will start to slip put if your binder is held upside down. While winding your bobbins try to make your sheep bellies even and flat so they don’t slip out of the pages as easily.

Happy Crafting

~Andie

Felt Supply - Online Worldwide shipping huge selection

Printable Sheep Embroidery Thread Bobbins

12 Nov

Printable bobbins for thread

There are a ton of advantages to using embroidery thread for felt projects – not only are the skeins of thread inexpensive but they come in a huge variety of colors and are easy to store. The biggest problem with embroidery is its tendency to get tangled once they are stripped of their paper cuffs.

Rein in your threads Bo Peep style with these printable felt sheep bobbins.

Sheep shaped bobbins

I tried printing these on cardstock but found it too flimsy for the larger skeins.

Thin chipboard proved to be the perfect material for this project and I think the natural brown color looks awesome on these little guys.

thread bobbins

I won’t lie to you dear reader these a pain to cut out but hopefully you need less than I did.

But come on they are crazy cute right and over 100 sheep later I have no regrets!

While we’re on the subject here’s how to move that thread from skein to bobbin without finding yourself surrounded by tangled threads and tears…not that that happened to me like 25 times or anything.

ANYWAY

sheep bobbins

Slip one cuff off at a time taking care not to distort or twist the thread too much. Keep the thread in its circle and look for the shortest thread along the top. It should come apart smoothly.

Print at size

Print at full size

Happy Crafting!

~Andie

American Felt and Craft online felt and craft store , over 100 colors of felt by the sheet! Ships worldwide.

Cutting Detailed Letters and Shapes from Felt

30 Apr

How to cut letters from Felt - tons of tips

Letters and complex shapes can be difficult to cut from felt – when accuracy really counts. And pins are cumbersome to use on smaller pieces

Printable freezer paper also called quilters paper solves these problems and makes it a breeze to use up those smaller felt scraps. Quilter’s freezer paper also adds a rigidity that makes it easy to accurately cut small or complex shapes from amazingly small pieces of felt.

You’ll find it’s a life saver when  mass producing  felt items like party favors or making a felt flower bouquet.  All without damaging or staining your felt.

You might also want to check out Andie’s method for cutting small and detailed shapes without freezer paper for small projects.

 A quick freezer paper refresher:

Freezer paper is not the same as parchment, butcher, or waxed paper. 

 Printed sized quilter’s freezer paper is a must (we sell ours here as Felter’s Friend)

You do not want to use the rolled freezer paper sold at the grocery store for this craft for two reasons:

1: You will have to cut the paper into printer sized sheets and given the thinness and curl even with precision they may still jam.

2: Since these pieces will be handled a lot while you are cutting them out the curl of rolled freezer paper can cause the paper to dislodge more easily grocery store versions also adhere less strongly so you may find yourself getting very frustrated especially if you want to reuse the templates or cut intricate shapes.

Use the right tool for the job you won’t regret it.

Printer sized freezer paper

Printer sized freezer paper

Plan out your templates in your favorite photo editing program.

 One sheet can be use on multiple colors so pack them in tightly and use every scrap of freezer paper. No need to reverse letters or shapes print your templates exactly the way you want your felt pieces to look. When choosing a font or a shape look for thick lines-  the thicker the better. . Felt less than 1/4″ thick can and will tear.

felt tear - cutting felt

 To print on freezer paper

Print onto the matte (feels like regular paper) side NOT  the shiny side.

Since quality isn’t important print on the fast setting and save some ink.  Black and white prints will work for most projects however color printing is very helpful for layered projects (see more on this below.)

Freezer paper templates

Ironing freezer paper to Felt

Cut your templates loose before ironing them onto to felt this makes it easier to position pieces and make the most  of your felt.

Letters can be broken up to fit onto your felt scraps.

Freezer paper will stick to acrylic felt however it may not adhere firmly enough for open centered letters; the synthetic setting on the iron doesn’t fully melt the freezer paper backing. Bamboo felt is very soft and it may be difficult to remove the freezer sheets once ironed on.

Wool or wool blend felt works best.

Iron freezer paper templates to wool/ blend felt using the wool setting.  (about 30 seconds)

How to cut felt letters

Felt Cutting Tips

Once your templates have printed cut away extra paper around shapes or letters, removing bulk first keeps your cuts accurate.

Start slowly and cut inward you can always cut more but you can never cut less!

Cutting curves can be tricky it helps to cut deep lines to points on your templates. Then cut away in the opposite direction, this will make little triangles at each curve. Now move your scissors around the curves

Image

 Consider using smaller scissors for tight spaces.

Cutting Open Centers from Felt

Cut open centers from felt

 If you cut your words straight you can easily curve them after they are cut which also helps save felt.

Cutting felt shapes with Printer freezer paper sheets

Cutting  layered template pieces from felt 

When cutting a layered piece it helps to print in color, no need to print each template piece separately!

Iron shape to first color, cut out felt and peel off.

Cut away the color you just completed and proceed to the next color.

Quality freezer paper sheets can be reused again and again for each color.

cutting layers from felt

Each time it will adhere a little less firmly but I was able to use each piece up to 6 times.

Interested in more freezer paper/ felt magic?

Check out our DIY printed felt sheet tutorial or stop by the store!

DIY Printed Felt American Felt and Craft 160 colors of wool blend felt

If you like it then you should put a pin on it! We ❤  Pinterest!

Cutting detailed felt letters and shapes

DIY printed (stenciled) felt

9 Apr

DIY Printed Felt Lets face it felt is a pretty amazing medium to work in but  it does have its limitations chief among them is the lack of pattern.

Polyester patterned felt is available in very limited prints but what if you’re a felt purist or your imagination refuses to be constrained by commercially available choices? You have felt visions, nay dreams which you cannot ignore. You seem like a  free-thinker, I like that. So I’m here to help you… and I brought freezer paper!

Prepare to have your mind blown…unless you’ve seen this before in which case settle back down and don’t ruin it for the rest of the class! Printed Felt Sheets Tutorial

You will need:

Freezer Paper AKA grease proof paper – Printer sized if you plan to use a printer

X-acto Knife or Scalpel & Cutting Board

Acrylic Paint & Textile Medium or fabric paint.

Wool or Wool Blend felt

Sponge Brush

A Vision (or templates)

Create stencil.

Cheveron Template American Felt and Craft - The Blog

The first step is to create a stencil to work with. You will need to be able to cut away the area you plan to paint so simple outlines work best. Making the areas to be cut away a darker color will help keep your head from spinning when you try to figure out parts to cut later. Anything the freezer paper covers will stay the color of the felt. Whatever you cut away will become the print. 

Stenciling on felt

The templates for these 6 patterns are posted free through our store if your interested in any of these styles. CLICK FOR TEMPLATES

Freezer paper in rolls

Freezer paper can be bought in printer sized sheets or in rolls at the grocery store in the sandwich bag and plastic wrap isle. It is not the same as parchment, butcher, or waxed paper. The thinner, grocery sold freezer paper (rolled) is more opaque and will allow for easy tracing, but it also tears more easily and is a bit more cumbersome to cut.

Printer sized freezer paper

Printer sized freezer paper sheets (quilters paper) , thicker and sturdier than rolled freezer paper.

If you are printing onto the paper I highly recommend buying pre- cut freezer paper meant for printers. Paper sold on rolls even when cut down tends to hold its curl and can jam up printers. Plus commercially available freezer paper sheets (often called quilters paper) is often thicker and adheres to the felt better.

To print on freezer paper make sure that you print onto the matte (feels like regular paper) side NOT  the shiny side. Print your design out onto the freezer paper sheets making sure to leave space around the edges to keep the paper intact after you get done cutting.  This is exactly the way your pattern will look when it is stenciled so don’t get all fancy and print your letters backwards or anything. Viola!

feltstencil Now the real fun begins!  Lay your stencil down onto your cutting surface – You may want to tape it down to prevent shifting. Keep your cuts clean any cracks or extra cuts might result in areas you didn’t want getting painted onto your felt

And, we’re cutting…and we’re cutting. Freezer paper stencil

Repeat, Repeat, Repeat!

Congrats your freezer paper sheet is now officially a stencil!

 Set your iron to wool lady friend because it’s time to make some magic! iron

Line up your stencil on the felt sheet shiny side down. The shiny stuff (technical term) will melt slightly and create a seal which won’t leave residue on your felt when you’re ready to peel it off. This temporary seal will need to hold a clean line so make sure to press firmly as you go paying close attention to edges and corners.  NO STEAM! textile paint Textile medium (also called fabric painting medium) is not optional if you are using acrylic paint. It magically transforms dull flaky, acrylic paint into a fabulous permanent washable fabric paint.

How to print on felt

The textile medium also helps the paint become  more pliable which prevents, cracking, lifting, and fading.  Mix the paint with textile medium 2: 1. or as instructed. Mix well.

 Unless you get crazy with your paint and saturate through the entire thickness you shouldn’t need anything under your felt but this can be a messy process so you will need to protect your work area, a poster board is perfect for this. Making a felt stencil with freezer paper- tutorial Using a sponge brush paint over the stencil. One coat should be fine but if you want to do a second make sure your first layer is fully dry. Wood grain stenciled felt using freezer paper- American felt and Craft the blog

Remove the freezer paper after the paint is set but before the felt is fully dry or cured.

(The paint on the paper is dry but the paint on the felt is still moist.) This is much easier than letting the paint fully set.

Use freezer paper to create stencils for felt. - American Felt and Craft- The Blog

They will be dry to the touch pretty quickly but allow them to cure overnight.

To set the paint you will need to iron over the dried paint on the wool setting.

Use as you would any felt.

Check out what we made with the wood-grain felt!

Check out what we made with the wood-grain felt!

 Now what to do with these guys… I am thinking coasters, maybe a notebook cover?

Printed Felt sheet tutorial

Any suggestions?

*Those of you who did not properly prepare to have your minds blown, I am sorry but I did try to warn you . DIY stenciled felt sheets

* Handy Tips from your handy tipster:

* The textile medium worked fine on the synthetic felt but the freezer paper wasn’t able to make a solid bond on the appropriate heat settings for synthetics. It may have sealed at a higher temp but this isn’t Myth-busters and I risk my iron for no man!

* This technique didn’t work on the bamboo felt, the composition of the felt is so soft that it adheres a little too well.

* Painting with a sponge brush in light layers will help keep the lines clean.

* Don’t mess up- Paint is forever so be careful! If you didn’t over saturate your felt you should be able to flip it over and give it another try on the reverse side.

* Mixing textile medium with acrylic paint  is a way to get a large range of color choices without having to make an investment in each color of fabric paint.   Especially since you may only need a small amount paint. It also allows for easy custom tinting.

* You can also paint directly on the felt, which you would only do if you were better at it than I am, which isn’t that hard see…

Painting on Felt - American Felt and Craft - The Blog

The size of a sheet of freezer paper is pretty close to felt sheets we sell at American Felt and Craft and many other places so you know exactly what will fit.

Freezer paper is also great for cutting out templates with precision! (More on this next week!)

Happy Crafting!

~Andie

American Felt and Craft

How thick is Wool Blend Felt?

14 Nov

How Thick is Wool Blend Felt?

This is the question that I struggle to answer the most often.

The technical answer is wool blend felt is 564 of an inch  or (1.6 mm) in thickness.

That didn’t help at all did it? 

Well this might 1 sheet of wool blend felt from our online store is …

Slightly thicker than a penny

About as thick as 2 credit cards

or

3 playing cards

or

2 standard staples

or

15 sheets of standard copy paper (20# weight)

Happy Crafting!

~Andie

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